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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  December 16, 2014 11:00pm-1:01am EST

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do we have an export on corn? i was saving that for last, mr. chairman. my point is that there are -- in a free market economy like the united states, there are almost no commodities or products that we have a ban on. we are the free market nation in the world. they banned exports of crude oil to the united states in the '80s. and we retaliated. and also requiring that no crude oil with few exceptions could be exported from the united states. that made some economic sense and some strategic sense in the
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1970s. but this isn't the 1970s. one of the key questions he already asked. what would happen if we are repealed the ban? what would happen to domestic gasoline prices? i haven't seen any study that says they would go up. and, you know, the reverse question would be what would happen if we don't? what happens to domestic oil production in the midterm and long term if we keep the ban in place? the key issue there is the market for domestic crude oil. u.s. refinery capacity, i think, is around 12 million barrels a day. is that correct?
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>> domestic crude oil is close to nine million barrels a day. you get to 12 by adding in biofuels. >> i'm asking what the refinery capacity is? >> over 16 million barrels a day. >> it's over 16. >> yes, sir. >> okay. >> i didn't think it was that high. my point was going to be if we don't have a market in the united states for the crude oil at our refineries, if you can't export it, you keep it in the ground. but if it's 16 million barrels, we can increase domestic supply significant i had and just freeze out or push out imports from overseas. wouldn't that be correct? >> you raise an interesting point. many people look at the growth and domestic production and the flatness and demand and they envision a world where the u.s. is not importing any oil. but, in fact, the u.s. may
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continue to import oil simply are to refine it in our very efficient refining system and sell those products back out into the global markets. >> mexico is finally freeing up their oil economy. and if they follow-through with their constitutional change, you'll see a large number of u.s. producers in exploration going down to mexico and i would assume that there would be additional oil in mexico that could come up to the united states in the next five to six years plus we've got canada and i know this are issues on the environmental front with the canadian heavy oil. i only have 22 seconds. if i had to look at this panel and you had to vote yes or no on repealing the ban, i think i have three yeses and a maybe. i'm going to ask miss garden, i
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didn't sense that the carnegie institute is totally opposed to repealing the ban. i think your concern is transparency and information for environmental purposes. is that correct? >> yeah, i think we have a reprieve here. demand really cooled off domestically. there is due diligence that has to happen so we is a sense when we change policies one day. i think we're headed to more open markets in general. but do remember, i should just add, the oil market is one of the least efficient markets. there are so many reasons barriers to entry. barriers to exit, not enough information, there's far more efficiency in peach markets than in oil markets. so it's a big question. >> could i ask one more question? is it possible for these lighter shale oil that's are being
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produced in north dakota to be exported as refine products? because they're so light and almost need no refining? >> they're really different from each other. the oil is like nigerian crude. we backed out a lot of nigerian crudes. if we export, we're going to have implications for nigeria and the north sea. it is really unusual. it is much, much lighter. and it needs to have the things stripped out of it. even with the light tight oil category, there is a lot diversity here that we don't have a lot information about. >> this time i want to recognize the gentleman from kentucky for five minutes. >> thank you very much. i thank all the witnesses for their testimony and knowledge. i learned a lot. i'm still not sure where i am on this issue. and i'm curious that we talked about the potential down side and while everything hooks
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wonderful right now, prices down, that would seem to be mitigate against worrying about a crisis. but isn't it entirely possible we could return to a 1970s situation? i was a staffer here in the '7 o's. i remember those lines as well. would it be useful to have this contingency measure because whether it's international outbreak of war, terrorism whatever it may be that we have some way to protect our domestic supply in case of an emergency? as opposed to just saying we're not going to worry about that when we get to it? >> so i think because we're in this era of new oil and everything is changing, the risks are chachging. we have the gee yoe political risks on the one hand with many place as broad that historically produced oil, and then we have
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operational and environmental risks here that we have to contend with. we have new oils, new conditions and then we have huge growth in china in terms of demand that's sporedic. it's not going to be red hot consistently. it's a market. we do tend to talk about oil in a moment in time because it sold on every corner that it's as if this is the condition that exists for all time. but the reality is it's very dynamic. there are different consumption patterns. even in america we're selling a lot more suvs right now. they're up tremendously. we're reversing our demand as -- as i said, we're not necessarily bound to that. >> so there is no guarantee with given the volatility of the market that if we eliminate the prohibition that we can have the kind of impact on prices that we would expect that the prices will be lower. we can't guarantee that.
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>> we have the largest refining capacity. we'll maintain imports of oil even just because we want to put product on the market. that's what industry does here. it's one of the big parts of industry. >> i think if i could just add -- answer your question, you know, most of the oil we consume in the united states is in the transportation sector. rather than maintain the ban, we would be wiser to have an accelerated program to use our vast natural gas reserves to a greater degree in transportation. there are numerous studies. it would be a long term effort. but if we could replace the diesel fuel that we use in our 18 wheel trucks, if we can use natural gas and marine transportation on the great lakes and our major rivers, coastal trade, that is another major place we can save. and we have companies already experimenting with using lng and
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railroad locomotives. so if we can reduce the use of oil in transport by relying on a vast natural gas, i think that would be a far more prudent policy than continuing the ban on crude oil exports. >> if i could just say one thing. if we go back and look at the history of everything we did, if you want to take one lesson out of that, we need policies which are robust against uncertainty. and every time we try to guess what we think we know what the future looks like, nuclear power is going to be too cheap to meter. or we're going to bab the use of natural gas and power plants. we really have a hard time getting this right. and we don't really know what the future looks hike. we do much better when we have policies that allow a hot of, you know, a hot of the marketplace and individuals to adjust to changing
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circumstances. once we put something in blas here, it's really hard to fix it. >> those of us that go way back, we is dozens of small refiners. we had dozens of the small refineries that came out of the arcane regulations of price controls. it was really hard. we have this political establishment of refiners. i think you have to keep in mind as we go forward that what the real lessons of this renaissance is, it was ab open system. the heavy hand of the government is not trying to stop the guys. we didn't have to rely on federal land. and so as we go forward, we have to really think hard about what kinds of strategies are likely to be more productive. >> my time is up. >> this time i recognize the gentleman from mr. illinois for
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five minute. >> this is a tremendous panel. and a great hearing. thank you chairman for that. tons of questions. so i'm going to try to put them in some sense of order. but miss gordon, i appreciate your testimony. the original epca, i didn't know there was reporting comments and more transparency in following up what congressman barton said. there is probably some truth to getting more information so that markets can operate more effectively and efficiently. i appreciate the comments. there are different type of crude oil. this is a major front to my question. but we know refineries made major investments based upon a world they perceived six years ago which is significantly changed today.
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i think the other thing that is not a part of this discussion or debate is transportation costs and long pipelines versus what could actually happen in the future with all these more localized resources of available is that you could see closer interaction between these new fines and local, more local refineries. i appreciated the statement because the need of production platform in a stable part of the world is really not just for what it does on hedging the risks, the volatile risk of pricing, really addressing my colleague from kentucky's question. but also internationally. i focus on eastern europe a lot
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of times. i understand energy extortion. so importation of lng that we would like to see for our allies in europe and eastern europe, i think the same would be true on crude oil exports. you have to have a stable platform to be able to do that. hence the next kind of position. because even in the map, they figure on this testimony for the three, you have the major bas s basins. there are more that are going to develop. which now we've gone through the legislative process. but so they have the illinois basin. we have more deep water applications. we have anwar debate that will always be there. we have a natural petroleum reserve. we have the atlantic coast. we have keystone xl debate. what i think here because i'm afraid -- we have this huge
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supply. we can't rely on government to set the parameters. we have to let the markets do it. which are recoverable based upon the pricing of a barrel of crude oil. this is not what they may be able to be exploited because the cost for recovery is high. but then in the case where there is a new change in world dynamics, that cost might be available for continuing exploration. does that make sense? >> right now there is a race going on between the lower evaluations and productivity and technolo technology. we're seeing some things. they're out there two years. some things are very near. if you take a traditional hydraulic job and across the u.s., 40% of the jobs are very uneconomic in some ways.
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there are exploration on a horizontal pipe are not working. but there is technology developing now. they're going to drastically improve that. so you couldn't get -- you could have a high cost basin which doesn't look like it's doing too well right away. in a few years, things can change. we want strategies which are robust under uncertainty. we try to prescribe the future. we're going to be wrong. >> in your testimony, you did state that increasing oil exports will help lower the prices at the pump. >> or gasoline prices, yes. the last thing i want to ask because we're starting to get talk to by a lot of people, is there a difference because really, except mr. gordon made -- started separating heavy, sour and light sweet. is there a difference? is there a credible argument in
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separating the crude oil price and easing the ban on one but not easing the ban on the other? and that will be my last question if some people want to weigh in on it, i'd appreciate it. >> i just will add that i think the time is coming that we're going to have baskets of crude that are split much more on quality than on location. i think that these oils are quite different from each other. the market needs this information. so whether regulations follow or not, i think the idea of separating oils into the baskets which is somewhat done but not largely in a market right now is a wave of the future.
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i want to honor and acknowledge, i realize i'm walking into the john dingel room, the incredible service that -- yes, i know. it is the john dingel room. our colleague, former chairman and under whose leadership i was first asked to be on the committee and also my colleague from california, ranking member and my neighbor mr. henry waxman for their incredible service to this committee and to our nation. i know he stepped out. i want to also bid farewell to our friend john barrow from the peach state.
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the oil market is complex. i picked that up from the hearing today. we need detailed, accurate information, i believe, to conduct a proper assessment of increasing exports. yet, in your testimony, you say that accessing this information is difficult. my question for you to elaborate a bit is on that. why is this information so difficult to access? >> the first reason is that the oils are the newest kid on the block so to speak. they haven't been around in so long. we have venezuelan oils. you think about getting the information from venezuela. there is uae. there are oils if all over the world, indonesia. we don't have any oils that are from north dakota or texas.
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so when they're reported, you can't compare oils to one another. so having more consistent reporting on information is one big problem. another one, having met with doe is that apparently, and i think you can talk more about this, but apparently the energy department can't collect oil on data freely. it turns out that omb, i was faber gasted when i heard this, they say this is duplication of effort. industry submitts information on oil. they don't set reporting requirements for oil. when you read epca, there is room for this to happen. so doe is only getting the information that industry wants to report out.
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these are newer oils. there is less information reported out. and then the third one i'll mention, one of the partners tried to purchase data. there is data that's owned by the big oil consultants. and after negotiating for a matter about a year in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, they were told the data wasn't for sale. there are a lot of concerns when it comes to oil data. >> i want to use that last sentence as a segue to another kind of topic. any discussion of oil exports must be considered in the context of our overall energy policy and the realities of climate change. and you also touched on that. you've done an extensive analysis on the climate impacts of our nation's oil policies. in your testimony, you discuss preliminary research on various
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types of american crude oils that could be exported if the current ban is lifted. have you been able to complete this climate assessment? >> no. none of the 28 oils we've been able to model are -- we have u.s. oils that have been around like gulf of mexico, mars. we don't have alaska north slope. we don't have the new tight oils in the 28 test oils because data is just not available. this lack of transparency is very concerning. not just for our assessment of oil export policy but for conducting proper oversight of the industry in general. if the industry is asking us to lift the export ban, i believe they need to provide the information that is so clearly needed to properly assess the very policy that they're asking
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us to expand upon. i yield back. >> the gentleman from pennsylvania is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for your testimony. i, too, remember the lock ling in the '7 o's. after waiting for 45 minutes or an hour with your car idling, the lines backed up on the highway and some people just topping off and some people about to go empty. there were a lot of short tem r tempe tempers. it was a very bad situation, wasting a lot of oil, gasoline. were any studies ever made on how much waste there was with those long lines back in the '7 o's? >> i don't think that eia did. i think you're absolutely right, congressman pits. the whole idea behind the
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program, i think made some sense at the time. but the implementation of it left a lot to be desired. a host the problems had to do with the availability of gasoline and different areas. it was based on the year ago use and as we got into the crisis, you didn't have enough people in the prior year were all out having vacations and outside of the cities and that's where all the gas heen went. but during the crisis, they were all if lines in the cities. they couldn't get the gasoline to go out on their family holiday. it was a bit of a mess. >> i worked on this program a bit when i was in the department of energy. you cannot imagine the small changes, you know, people just think a refinery takes crude oil and processes it. they're blending dozens of components. every day there was enormous
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misallocation, shortages, wrong kind of mix because the market was completely surpassed by the government price controls. i don't think you can find anybody who looked at this program that wants to defend it. it was an unmitigated disaster. it substantially delayed our capacity to even adjust to the crisis. >> and in addition, after waiting for 45 minutes or an hour, the station, many of them would run out of gas. you'd have to leave and come back another day. the average family with expect to save several hundred dollars a year if the prices stay where they are. how can we maximize these benefits and sustain them over the long run? >> the benefit to house old income is coming from lower oil prices. most of that coming in gasoline. the number of about $800 per
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household is right for $30 decline that's from average prices last year that would be sustained for about a year. those numbers could even be a hill bit higher than that. depending on where oil prices settle out. that is going to have a pretty positive effect on the ability of households to spend. and i think we'll begin to see the positive impact of that on the economy. they concluded if we had this $30 decline sustained for a year that it could add as much as 1% to u.s. gdp. >> if the ban were lifted, what effect would it have on gasoline prices? how would it impact our refinery sector? are are you going to continue? >> gasoline prices, you know,
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again, if we stay at these levels, gasoline prices could be down almost 77 cents a gallon. that's, again, a huge plus with gasoline prices averaging that much lower than the prior year. obviously, there will be some losers and production, producers are going to have lower income. this could have big effects on countries like venezuela and others that depend on oil revenues. that could lead to unare rest there. this is why i think the idea that policies, you know, that outcomes and forecasts are uncertain is really huge. if you lost that oil production for venezuela because of social unare rest there, can you see prices come back up again. i think in general the -- when i think about policies, you know, this is not a policy organization. i think i can describe the three components of energy policy.
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what does it mean for the economy? what does it mean for the environment? what does it mean for national security? you're asking about national security issues. i would imagine that a key thing in thinking about this is how to weigh those impacts from a policy standpoint. i think the strategic petroleum reserve is the key tool in security. >> time expired. >> this time i recognize the gentleman from georgia for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and i hope i get my own five minutes back. i thank my colleague. i represent houston, texas. and we have five refineries in this county. and also i have all my service companies. obviously halliburton, you name it, baker hughes and groups like that. so i want to keep them working in the oil patch. i also know this is the best
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time in my history that we've seen refinery margins where we're at. and that's what i want to ask. typically the intergrated oil companies that have refiners and production, they have refining. that is not the profit center. most of the profit center is the production side. we do have three of those refineries are are also independent refiners. they're not integrated or majors. have you seen -- have you done any research on the refining capacity? i know the shutdown of refineries, smaller refineries around the country, there is some concern over the years that even though we weren't producing as much crude as we needed right now, also we were losing refining capacity. have y'all looked at those numbers? >> we have a study under way on the ability of u.s. refineries
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to absorb this increase in the lighter oils that are being produced from the shale formations. we'll have that out sometime in the early part of next year. if you come back to the complexities of this, if moving the export ban does have impacts on different sectors in the economy and the refiners are very concerned about -- >> okay. let me ask you. what would happen in the '9 o's, is it because we weren't producing lighter sweet in the united states? most of our refiners who were successful converted and it caused -- i know one are refinery about $2.5 billion to convert to do the heavier crude. have you all put any cost estimates on -- >> congressman, you're right in there. we should brief you an we have
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this study done. there are costs associated with adding the equipment that is needed to take care of this increase in lighter crudes and how fast those light crudes will be growing. what we do know is that over the past -- if you look back over the last decade, billions of dollars were invested in upgrading refineries in texas, will you you had, and elsewhere on the gulf coast. process heavy crude oil and now we have light crudes. it created problems. >> i think the concern that surplus of light crude because they're typically the shale phase. and the wells are very short lived. they're cheaper to drill than the earlier ones. there are issues. are we going to have to reinfest for the refineries another 2.5 billion to handle heavier to lighter crude?
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>> there are new construction projects under way to allow them to handle that. a lot of those are taking place in your district. >> as eia looked at the issues in the past we typically use whatever refine in our country. now we're producing so much more that we're having the down stream jobs that are exports and back in houston we're exporting just tons in the last few years of low sulfur diesel. the low sulfur diesel is improving the environment in countries where countries are sending it to in latin america in particular. have y'all looked at some of those issues? i'm going to ask our -- if that's been looked at by our environmental community. has eia done that? >> that's going to be part of
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our study. so i look forward to the study. is there any qualification of that even though we're doing heavier crude and arproducing a lot more diesel that we don't he's in our country. in the countries that are buying that from us, compared to the diesel that maybe coming if other parts of the world? >>y, certainly taking the sul ver out will be fantastic for health and for the environment. but a bigger question is petroleum coke and what happens with the very bottom of the barrel. when you put coking capacity into the refineries, you remove the middle of the barrel and end up with more gasoline and diesel which is good for product and we're exporting that. i think we increased out of texas, the u.s. increased the petroleum coke exports to china like 70 fold in the last several years. and it's a coal substitute. it's worse than coal in terms of
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emissions. you know, it kind of cuts both ways. >> mr. chairman, i know i'm over my time. i'd like to talk about petroleum coke when i get to my time. >> i recognize the gentleman from ohio for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. again, as we've been stated, thanks for our panelist for being here. we really appreciate your time. if i could just kind of hit a few points. as we've been sitting here, i'd check where we started and west texas was selling at $60 and now it's down to $60.51. present is at $64.20 and it dropped to $64 in the last few minutes. there is a section in the paper about what the decreasing cost of oil if west texas and
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what'sing that doing here in this country to evolve our producers especially out west. and of course in ohio and also in pennsylvania with our shale that we're developing in our states, especially for me in ohio, it's really interesting. also, you know, you're concerned. as the price drops, we want to make sure that we can keep that production up and also people out there producing. if i could go to your testimony, i found that interesting. on page five, you state that u.s. crude imports declined by $2.4 million barrels we are day or 25%, the lowest since 1995. and the percentage of u.s. crude demand supplied by imports has fallen by 67% to 47%, the lowest level since 1992. in the testimony you've been talking about today, especially about the oil coming in and refining, how much when that oil
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comes in that we imported goes back out as an export? you would like to take that and if anyone else would like to answer the question? >> the u.s. is -- has net product exports of about two million barrel as a day. so the gross amount of imports and exports are different than that. but we're also importing, especially gasoline into the east and west coast. it ends up being two million barrel as a day and back to congressman green's comments. a lot of that exported product is coming from the gulf coast region of the u.s. it's going to countries in latin america and europe. the gasoline, one of the better
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exports that we have is gasoline. and the reason for that is we don't need it here in the u.s. it is needed in places in latin america. >> thank you. if i can turn to you, sir, you know, as we look across what's happened and we're seeing the increase here, are there any regulatory or market barriers preventing our refiners out there right now from doing anything else to adapt to what these new surges are that we're having? they face a fuel con stranlt in the renewable fuel standard. it's not that ethanol, for
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example, is a bad thing. it is very useful to the american, you know, the american transportation fuel sector. it's the mandates that give you all the problems. as demand shifts radically or the supply side shifts radically, the he finers unable to adjust in a cost effective way. so i think that as we go forward and look at crude exports, we don't want to necessarily harm these high value added down stream processing centers. they add a lot to the economy as well. we are in favor of taking a hard look at the trade adjustments you need to do when you move into a export mode. >> thank you. i yield back, mr. chairman. >> this time right now the gentleman from california for five minutes. >> thank you, pletsch.
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i suppose that the u.s. becomes a reliable and consistent exporter of natural gas and crude oil, how much impact will our natural gas exports have on the geopolitical issues relative to how much impact our diplomatic and military policies have on those geopolitical issues? does anyone care to take that? >> i could just say that because these oils, when the relative bounds kind of trade as hike types of oil as i've been talking about, you do have to look at the geo politics and the kind of oil that we would be exporting. so the light tight oil has backed nigerian imports out of the u.s. we produced that oil. we're importing now no oil from nigeria. it's just not from nigeria. that has a political impact on
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nigeria. and i think even though oil is not being used at all as a weapon, it ends up being something that can counter act the peacekeeping. venezuela was mentioned. >> i'm thinking in particular russia and mr. putin. will our exports have more impact on his behavior than our military or diplomatic activities? >> it's a really good question. i do think that russia is reeling from the price of oil. so it's not our exports that are are really changing what is going on in russia right now, it's $60 a barrel oil that is changing what is going on in russia. that is a much bigger demand question. that's not about our exports. >> if i can weigh in on that, sir. the problem we have is twofold. we've had a lot of very, you know, i think empassioned proposals to do something to
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help ukraine with the russian crisis. but the are reality is, of course, that our oil and gas are owned by private companies. and they are likely to shift the oil or gas, oil if we allowed it, to where the market gives them the greatest property. right now although it's changing before us as we speak, it's always been assumed that the market for lng primarily would be in the far east because the premiums there have been much higher than those in europe. although now we have lng prices crashing in asia in very low levels where it's even questionable whether we can deliver lng into the marketed competitively by the time we actually have lng people ready to go outside contracts that have already been signed. geo politically i think the issues of exports is creextreme important. our allies are very desirous to
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have energy from the united states because they see an increasing lly bell akoes chinan which all their imports come from, not only oil and gas but also coal. they're delighted. i think it does improve our diplomatic status to the extent that we send energy there. but again, these going to be commercial choices made by the companies that own that oil and gas. >> that is a complicated question. >> excuse me? >> that is a very complicated question. how do you see oil exports increasing over time if we were to repeal the energy policy and conservation act? do we see a large bump or do we see a slow increase? how do you see that playing out? >> well, we -- eia, we do tend to look at those and our annual
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energy outlooks which we do every year. we'll have that one out we hope some time in late february or march. the answer to that i think probably lies more towards the lower end in the upper end. the reason i say that is that the kind of oil that we have in surplus is a light sweet crude. the market for that is not unlimited. so the question is how much of that could be put out on to the global markets before you saturated the global markets? something on the ordinary of mailon or a million and a half barrels a day might be the number that would be exported. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> i recognize the gentleman from west virginia for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for the panelists. this is very interesting. it's the end of the session. this is more interesting
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earlier. this is something that is particularly beneficial. i'm just -- i have series of questions. my question was asked by the predecessor. i want to get into the geopolitical aspect of it. perhaps we have to ged into that deeper. one of the questions i would ask is whodz asking for this ban to be lifted? >> well, the first groups, our producers that have wanted to see the ban removed or those who are producing the lightest of the crude oil. because that's being discounted the most and attractiveness or exporting that into the global markets is high. we see that coming from the
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independent producers in texas. >> i'm also curious before i get to my last -- i have three or four questions here. but one would be is that back towards the tail end of the bush administration the gas was selling at $185 a gallon. now we're up to $3.8 a. is there an impact here? what caused that? why do you go for -- why did it double in price? >> say that again. >> when gasoline price tez pump were $18 aunder the bush administration, what happened to take them up to double? >> the biggest thing for -- that the overwhelmingly most important factor in gasoline pricing is what the price of crude oil is in the global markets. the next biggest thing after that is probably the different levels of taxation and different
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states. >> that hasn't changed much. taxes haven't changed much. >> right. >> but crude oil prices go up and down. >> the crude is down to $63 or something like this? >> okay. >> and where was it? >> it was on average over $100 a barrel. >> i haven't seen it get back to $1.85 yet. >> it may have been $1.85 when prices were a lot lower and when we had $40 oil. >> that's fine. that's what your answer is. crude has to get to about $40. >> there is one other issue that i think is trofrtstial. i think if you look at it, you'll find that the mandates for biofuels being mixed with gasoline we've seen ethanol prices go up very high. that's been a major contributor to the price of gasoline. >> i have less than two minutes. i have a small boutique refinery
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in west virginia. it fills a niche in the market place. what could be the impact if the export ban were lifted? what would be the impact on this? 22,000 barrrels a day. >> in your area? >> because those refiners in the mid continent where they have access to discounted wti benchmark crude would see their cost go up. >> i think they're starting to tap into the unitica shale gas. and now it is shale gas. they were providing the petroleum. they're going to be able to tap into. you're thinking that arizona
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would not be affected. >> in your state, sir. >> they ship all over the country. >> but the question is what would the cost of feed stocks into the refinery in west virginia be? i would suspect it wouldn't change very much. >> thank you very much. >> i roid the gentleman from texas, mr. green for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. let me get back to some of the issues. first, mr. chairman, i ask unanimous consent to place a statement into the record. and i think it's no doubt that in fact the cbo report that was just released talked about the apolicy shift in exporting crude with pinch refiners and profit margins and also harm foreign oil producers. but let me go down the list about kerr exporting oil now.
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but it fits the definition of compensation. there's actually a mechanism where you get that lighter sweet out of the ground. you run it through what i call a very limited refining process. but it fits the definition that we can export right now. and how does eia classify lease without exporting it? >> there are at least four big ways of trying to define compensate. the way eia has historically done this is literally based on the location. if it is produced on oil hees and is mixed back into the crude oil stream, we counted it adds lease and measured it in barrels. >> is that the same definition as the department of kmert for export? >> the department of commerce is looking at it from a different
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standpoint and reportedly the congress department is now through letters to the individuals who asked for a ruling on it has -- is allowing processed condesate. if you produce it, throw away distill lags, it qualifies as a product and products under u.s. hau right now can be exported. >> okay. would it help to have a uniform definition for government agencies, particularly if lawmakers want to craft better regulation or legislation to have one definition for condesat snechlt. >> we've been trying to, at iea we've been trying to understand the different definitions. i suspect that one size fits all
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might not actually work. we would still have at eia, we want to make sure that we're able to count this processed condesate so we don't double count how much of the material is in our system. and that's a complication of the existing rules. >> do they track exports of production and exports? do you track any of that production? >> the export data is provided to eia by the customs people. >> okay. >> so we do not have that. we do our own survey of imports, interestingly, you think about all of the history that's been brought up here today. we wanted to do our own survey of imports. that was what was really big and that was supposed to grow.
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and we don't have a survey of exports. >> how readily available is that information? >> that information is actually -- is available. we have been working with them on speeding up eia's ability to get that data. >> i know your testimony in your briefing book big bets and black swans and early 2014, you authored a section to lift the ban on u.s. oil exports. you state that under the exports and accommodation would increase investment are expected to generate production and jobs. do you think domestic transportation of oil is a major factor facing our energy sector? good example, limitations on pipelines.
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would you turn on your mike? >> i think the fact that we have not built some major pipelines, keystone being one of them, has certainly led to a more dangerous transportation system by rail particularly. also by trudge and barge. a more expensive transportation system than would be need philadelphia we built pipelines. then we need to build the attended infrastructure as cost effectively as possible to get that to market. >> okay. mr. chairman, thank you. >> this time i recognize the gentleman from kansas for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i did a little work in the runup to the hearing to see which of you all predicted $63 oil on december 11th, 2014. none of you did. you should know you should count yourself among the many. i couldn't find anyone who did. i saw a few traders who make a claim that they were in the market in the right place on the
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shore side. i mention that only because i hear you talking about more data and more information in the hands of government and all that, i think if we unleash markets, glorious things will happen. people talk about an export ban lifting sound right to me. i can't get a sest rules out to deal and tell folks what to build. based on prediction the koj set levels. they said as we all, as policymakers think about how we're going to handle this, we should not get all certain that $63 is here for tomorrow let alone for two months or three months. no one mentioned the green house gas rules that are about to hit
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america. no one mentioned cafe standards. you mentioned getting nass gatt transportation. gosh, if we could get there, i don't know what is standing between us aenthem. i couldn't tell you. natural gas prices at prices that you think gosh, folks, they want to go and invest. the truth is you have markets operating in a state of uncertainty trying to get to the right outcome. and we should not have the possibility of getting in front of that place. so as we think about this export ban, i think it's incredibly important that we don't lift an export ban and base because gosh today we have certain oil prices that are sitting in the low 60s range. i think we made a mistake in putting a place in 197 o's. and i think that's the kind of thing that policymakers should all consider. >> you did a report just a month og on what impacts gasoline prices,ed saudis changed the world in the last quarter.
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does that change how you think about the study that you put out in any material way? >> no. i believe that that study probably be still valid in terms of trying to understand what it is that relates to the price of gasoline in the u.s. to the global markets for either crude oil or gasoline. you know, i think your comment about did iea predict $63 oil? no, we didn't. i would like to say in my defense -- >> no defense required. >> that we talk every month we public something that is actually worth thinking about. i mean for everybody here. we use the options market for crude oil to work backwards to what the confidence interval is on forecast for crude oil prices. and that six months ago that confidence interval got down to the low 6 o's.
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we hit the bottom of the 95% confidence range for the committee here today, i just looked at some numbers for west texas interimmediate, the 95% confidence range, will it fall in there? that is for april of coming year is $50 to the low side and $90 to the high side. and that's telling you that the people who are in those markets, they're not really sure either. >> folks with real cap low are risk. >> i want to answer this. i read lots of articles just recently. there are articles that are pop news more than anything else. about whether opec still exists. right? it is still the same force that i was a little bit younger could impact markets and material ways. we talked about how the markets have changed. anybody care today want to say that opec is dead? >> well, you know, i think
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market power, market power is some big producers, waxes and waynes. but if you have enough production outside of these other, you know, low cost, high volume producers, the market -- their market power gets reduced. and that's what you're seeing now. i mean, the distribution of crude oil outside of these few players which north america is a big force today is undermining the capacity of other folks to constrain output and charge higher prices. that's just the reality of it. that's the one -- that's a huge benefit of this north american tax form. that's why we ought to pay attention to how it performs. make sure we have a regulatory environment that doesn't hurt it. >> thank you. my time's expired. thank you, mr. chairman. >> i recognize at this time the
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gentleman from new york for five minutes. >> thank you. we moved to my office. we haven't moved in ten years. we were throwing out all kinds of things. and there was this huge chart which said the world according to oil. and it either slafrpg or increased the map of different countries based on the power house of oil. and it's interesting. that was probably about 15 to 20 years old. the united states is very, very tiny. saudi arain why and venezuela are very big. i couldn't help but thinking if we did that map today, how different would it be. i think that's a good thing. you asked about the geopolitical impact of it. as the ranking member of the foreign amayors committee which i am, i care very much about the geopolitical aspects of it.
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i like the idea of countering mr. putin. european countries are are will he lureluctant to stand up to h. if they could buy our oil, they might actually develop a backbone. so i have looked at this in a totally different approach than i looked at before. but everything, of course, is still a balancing act. i care about the environment. we want to make sure that we can continue to export and increase the export. and i think it's a balance. so i want to say dr. ebbinger, i read findings and report which finds of lifting the ban on crude oil would boost u.s. economic growth and put downward pressure on oil prices. and larry summers also called for lifting the ban. the department of commerce has
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granted licenses during the past year to a few oil companies to export relatively small amounts of ultra light crude as mr. green mentioned and i believe it comes from shale plays. so please correct me if i'm wrong. so therefore, increased production of condesate would mean more fracking, would it not? >> it would. yes, it would. >> among the companies exporting condesate are pioneer natural. which shale plays are they getting the condensate from, do we know? >> the eagle ford, texas. >> okay. screeria -- nigeria. -
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